Friday, May 22, 2009

Israel to honor Philippines for sheltering Jews during Holocaust

By The Associated Press
Jewish World, Israel News

More than 1,000 Jews fleeing persecution in Nazi Germany found refuge in the faraway Philippines, thanks to the government's "open doors" policy that Israel plans to honor with a monument next month, officials said Friday.

The modern structure of three steel doors, frames and marble floor tiles commemorates the "courage, hospitality and the determination" of the Philippines to give humanitarian support for European Jews seeking refuge from the Holocaust, the Israeli Embassy said in a statement on its Web site.

"The warm hospitality of the Filipino people undoubtedly shed light to one of the darkest and most difficult periods in Jewish history," the embassy said.

The "Open Doors" monument, designed by Filipino artist Jun Yee, is scheduled to be unveiled June 21 at the Rishon Lezion Holocaust Park in central Israel. The idea came from Holocaust survivor Frank Ephraim's book "Escape to Manila," published in 2003. It details the author's and 35 other Jewish refugees' journey to the Philippines - then a U.S. commonwealth - just before it fell to the Japanese during the mayhem of World War II that left the capital, Manila, in ruins.

The Berlin-born Ephraim and his parents fled to the Philippines in 1939, when he was 8, taking advantage of President Manuel Quezon's decision to welcome Jewish refugees. Preparations were made to accept 10,000 Jews a year, but only 1,200 made it to Manila. Sixty-seven Jewish refugees were among the 100,000 Manila residents who died during the 1945 U.S. liberation of Manila and heavy bombing that preceded it, which also destroyed Manila's only synagogue, Temple Emil

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ErnestoDR said...

It is my prayer that as a gesture of gratitude, the Jews won't give our kababayans working in Israel a hard time much less descriminate against them!

Pilar Villegas Cuevas said...

Thanks for sharing this article.